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The secret to selling VAPS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bruce Stevens   
ImageWithin the furniture/appliance/ electronics industry most sales associates have a habit of referring to value-added products and services as "add-ons". This is wrong.

Just the mere mention of this very important service as an "add-on" gives no real meaning or value to this very important part of the sales process and unfortunately is treated by many sales associates in much the same manner.

Value added products and services should be considered not simply as a necessary but as an integral part of the customer's purchase. This process should start by giving all value added products and services the respect they deserve. They're not just an add-on.

As an industry, we should change the terminology to VAPS (value added products and services) as this reflects their importance. Properly integrated into the selling process, many retailers see their sales of VAPS - and the profits they produce - climb into the stratosphere. It is not uncommon for profit dollars to increase by as much as 200 per cent or more.

So what is the secret to leading customers to buy VAPS?

The store's owner/manager has to monitor every transaction that should have VAPS as part of the sale. After all, only that which is measured can be improved.  The second part of the secret is an unwavering belief by both the owner/manager and his sales team that the added-value product or service being offered to the customer is good for them - it provides a real value and real benefit to her.

Every sales associate needs regular product knowledge and sales training on the feature and benefits of VAPS - which cover everything from fabric protection for upholstery and mattress protectors to extended warranties for appliances and electronics. If the store doesn't have such a program - and there are many that don't - the owner/manager needs to get one as soon as possible.

Belief is the strongest force for success or failure in every individual. What he or she believes is the greatest influencer of action. Until the sales associate believes every product and service being offered is the best thing since canned soup for their customer he or she will not be successful in convincing any customer. When the product or service is presented with genuine passion and enthusiasm everything will change dramatically for the better.

Unfortunately, from time-to-time, the mainstream media publishes a negative article about VAPS that are given more weight by both the sales associate and the consumer than they deserve. If these value-added products and services were so terrible, why then do we have car insurance, life insurance, house insurance to name only a few.

Everyone knows that we don't plan accidents, they just happen at the most unexpected times. When one happens we're glad of the coverage.

Consumers need to realize that value-added products or services give peace of mind should anything go wrong - in most cases, she can be completely covered for any of the unexpected costs that may be incurred. The decision to not buy extended warranty any major product is like buying a hot dog without a bun.

Good Luck and Good Selling!

Bruce Stevens is president of Stevens Sales Consulting and author of So You Think You Can Sell! Prior to retiring from the company in 2005, he served as national sales manager and sales trainer for one of Canada's largest furniture retailers. He also was their franchise director for eight years. To order his book, e-mail .

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Donald Cooper
HGO Merchandiser